Friday, October 31, 2014

30 Day Gratitude Challenge

I am going to join my friend Alison, who writes as the Kwizgiver at What if this is as good as it gets?, in a gratitude challenge the month of November. I, like her, feel that I have so much to be thankful for but I have forgotten and have been taking things for granted. Maybe you would like to join us.

Halloween 2014

Kitty Paige
Mouse Harley

A Liebster

 My wonderful friend Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm, nominated me for the Liebster Award. I am going to graciously accept itHere are the rules, as outlined on her blog. 

1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
2. Answer 11 questions asked by Wendy.
3. Nominate bloggers with less than 200 followers to do the same.
4. Let those bloggers know that you chose them.

Random Facts About Myself:

1. I quit coloring my hair when I placed Richard in Hospice. I am now pretty grey.
2. I am lazy.
3. I like watching reality TV: Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, Sister Wives are some of my favorites.
4. I don't believe in psychiatry.
5. I do believe in ghosts.
6. There are very few overhead lights in my home. 
7. I love calf liver. Now that Richard is gone I probably won't cook it just for me.
8. I have not weighed myself in the past 8 years. And I don't need a scale to tell me I have gained a lot of weight.
9. I hate any form of exercise.
10. Summer is my favorite season.
11. I am not into pets. The only pet we own is a goldfish and a 'sucker' fish.

Wendy's Questions for me:

  1. What is your favorite cocktail? My favorite cocktail is an Italian Margarita.
  2. Who is the most famous person you ever met in person? I saw Robert Redford in Las Vegas while he was filming Indecent Proposal. I didn't actually meet him. Although my friend and I stalked him a bit.
  3. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in your life? It has to be taking in my two grandchildren. Although most of the credit for their being here belongs to Richard.
  4. Do you prefer a large party or a small intimate party? I much prefer small, intimate parties. With very good friends.
  5. What is your favorite food? This is hard. I like food. All kinds of food. The richer and more fattening the more I like it. I adore lobster.
  6. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten? I've eaten lots of strange food. Kangaroo pie while in Australia. Also ate Emu while there. I have eaten alligator and rattlesnake and squirrel and rabbit. 
  7. What is the last book you read? The Confession by John Grisham
  8. What is your biggest fear? I have two big if mice and the other is flying. But my really biggest fear is not being here until my grandchildren are grown and on their own.
  9. If you could have any job in the world what would it be? I would love to be a gardener. There is nothing better than mowing the grass or pulling weeds. I love digging in warm soil.
  10. Who was the last person you hugged? I hugged Darian and Harley. Everyday. Several times if I can.
11.Name one thing about yourself that you absolutely love. I absolutely love the depth in which I love. I give it my all. 

My nominees:

1. Kwizgiver at What if this is as good as it gets?
2. Myra at Respice, Prospice
3. Betty at A Bench with a View
4. Inger at Desert Canyon Living
(and yes I know she has more than 200 followers but I am a rebel and I want to nominate her anyway).
5. And all the rest of my readers and followers whom I love so much!

My questions for you nominees:

1. Why do you blog?
2. How did you chose the name of your blog?
3. What makes you laugh out loud?
4. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
5. Favorite TV show and why?
6. What do you want to be when you grow up?
7. How do you cope when things are not going well in your life?
8. A Favorite quote?
9. Your favorite food to snack on when no one is around.
10. What is your favorite social media?
11. What is one destination that you dream of traveling to?

Please jump in and lets all get to know each other a bit. It's fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

Today is the last day of the challenge. It has been heartfelt on my part. Cleansing, cathartic, and sad. I have learned a lot about grief in the past 31 days. And what I have learned is that I have a ways to go. I may never get over grieving the loss of my husband and my best friend. And that will be okay.

My dearest Richard:

The day you left me here all alone I didn't want you to go. But it wasn't our choice, was it? You had to leave. And I had to stay. That is the way God had planned it for us. I am so glad to have had the time I had with you. I have no regrets. I hope you don't either. 

We were a good pair. We were like two puzzle pieces that fit so snug together. Like peanut butter and jelly. We were like summer and sunshine. Like winter and snow. Like hot and cold. We were each a separate person but together we were gold. That is what I will miss the most. No longer being part of a couple. No longer a wife. Yet still your sweetheart.

Until we meet again,


The Confession

I just finished reading The Confession: A novel by John Grisham.
I have read quite a few of his books (The Pelican Brief was my all time favorite, so far). Here is what the overview said at Barnes and Noble:

An innocent man is about to be executed.
Only a guilty man can save him.
For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.
Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.
Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.
But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?
Winner of the 2011 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Was a nice read. Not one of my favorites by any means. Wasn't up to the high standards of John Grisham, in my opinion. Drug in places. But for a legal read it was okay. I will read more of John Grisham. 

#Throwback Thursday

Richard loved his 'blow-ups'. Here is the front our house October 2008.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

My dear Richard:

You were not my first love! But you were my last love. I think I have told you that many times before. Well one more time won't hurt, will it. You came along at a time in my life when I wasn't really sure where my future was headed. And you helped to turn it around. I was the luckiest woman in the world,that you loved me. 

You weren't my kids 'first' dad but you were the last. And the best.  I couldn't have had a better man to help me raise them up. You were strong, firm, and caring. They were lucky to have you in their life. You were always there for them. No matter what. And you loved them as if they carried your blood in their bodies. 

You weren't my first love. But you will be my last love. And who could ask for more than that.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

Dear Richard:

It was so important to you that we become united. I cannot count how many times you asked me to be your wife. Seventeen years we were together before I finally caved in. I've never been sorry. In the beginning of our relationship you were okay with us just living together, but the longer we did the more you wanted to become man and wife. It didn't matter to me. I felt that we were already committed to each other. But you were worried about the financial aspect of the whole relationship. So I guess you could say I married you for money. That was always our joke, wasn't it? I know that your mother was happy the day you took me to her house and introduced me as your wife. She thought we were joking. We had to produce the marriage license. She was so sweet. I miss her too. But now you are there with both your mom and dad. Reunited! I look forward to the day we will reunite. Because it wasn't just until death do us part; but for now and ever after.

I love you!



Monday, October 27, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

My darling Richard:

Each morning when I first awaken, I think of you. Before my eyes open it is easy to pretend that you are still here in the room with me. I listen hard for the oxygen concentrator softly hissing. It isn't there. I strain to hear you talking, mumbling, even coughing. But those nosies are gone.

I open my eyes and I look around the room. The hospital bed is gone. The walker and wheelchair have been returned. We have rearranged the furniture to be how it was before you became so sick. And you are gone. The room is full again and yet it is so empty. I am waking now. 

I sit in your recliner with a cup of hot coffee warming my hands. You are gone. I watch out the window as the trees gently blow and lose their leaves. And you are gone. I rock gently back and forth and think of how I need to replace the chair I am sitting in. And I wonder if I will be able to do that. It's your chair! And I am now fully awake.

Another day without you in it.

Forever and ever,


Glen Campbell - I'm Not Gonna Miss You

I have many friends that are suffering the ravages of Alzheimer's disease in their families. I found this today on the Alzheimer's Blog about Glen Campbell who is in the final stages of this horrible disease. This is a song that he wrote while he was still able and it is so powerful. Sure to bring a tear to your eye so grab the Kleenex box before you hit play.


My Simple Woman's Blog-October 27th Edition

 For Today: October 27, 2014

Outside my window...The sun is shining brightly. There is a cool breeze. Most of the trees are showing colors that are stunning to see. As I stand in the reading room looking down the street I relish the greens, yellows, and reds. A tasty desert for the eyes.

I am thinking...about what I need to start working on. Hurry winter will be here soon.

I am thankful...for my family.

In the kitchen...

Monday...Clean up Fridge Day
Wednesday..Kids eat at church
Thursday..Simple Crockpot Chicken mashed potatoes
Saturday...Grilled Chicken, baked potatoes salad
Sunday...Baked Spaghetti, garlic bread

I am wearing...shorts and a tee shirt. No shoes

I am creating...This post for Monday. Little else.

I am take the rest of the apples I have to the soup kitchen tomorrow. I hope they can use them.

I am wondering...What Richard thinks of Heaven and if he checks in on us.

I am reading...John Grisham, The Confession

I am have more energy this week.

I am looking forward to...Tuesday. Monday's are so busy and depressing. I don't know why.

I am see the joy in 

Around the house...I manage to keep it picked up and the laundry and dishes done. That is all.

I am pondering...How hard I should push myself.

A favorite quote for today...

One of my favorite things...Eating out with my family. Olive Garden was so good!

A few plans for the rest of the week:More of the same...maybe something new. We'll see.

A peek into my day...

Such a silly Olive Garden Sunday

Join us at The Simple Woman's Blog and add your link. I would love to read your Monday journal.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

Dearest Richard:

How does it feel to be free? Free of pain and problems with breathing. Free of coughing. Free of oxygen tubes and catheters and all of those medical supplies that you weren't so fond of. Are you able to walk now? What is Heaven like? It must be awesome to be so free. No schedules, no hours to follow, no responsibilities. I am happy for you sweetheart even though I miss you so much.

We talk about you often here on earth. And have many good memories. And we laugh. And we cry. And we miss you. But I wouldn't want you to suffer anymore. I am happy that you are free. Can you see us from where you are? I have so many questions...someday I will have the answers. So many days have gone by. And I miss you.

Love always and forever, 


Saturday, October 25, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

Dear Richard:

What I wouldn't do for a visit from you. It doesn't need to be for long. Just a brief visit will do. I won't be afraid. I would welcome seeing you sitting in your chair. Or just peeking around the corner as Ada does. Or a short whisper in my ear. Or a breath on my neck. A visit from you would bring me peace.

We used to talk about this, remember? If we would come back to earth to visit each other. Our house ghost "Ada" lurks in our home and I've often wondered if she will find peace and disappear someday. It's been awhile since I have seen her...standing quietly in the other room. Just glimpses is all that we have ever had. Or I should say I have ever had. You swore you had never seen her. But on the night Denny died and I went to be with my sister you said you heard her and you felt comforted to know she was here with you. Do you remember that? 

I wonder if you will come for a visit someday. I hope so...

Love always,


ENJOY-and a Book review

This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

My dear Richard:

Do you remember how we used to tell each other about the books we enjoyed? Neither of us really liked the genres the other read. But that didn't keep us from sharing them. Today I have to tell you about the book I just finished reading. And how it is helping me to process the grief I am feeling about your death. The name of the book is Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. A 'chick book' is what you would call it. It centers around a young girl that is trying to find out what happened to her mother who had mysteriously disappeared 10 years earlier. Her mother was a scientist who studied elephants. I learned so much about elephants reading this work of fiction. Alice studied the behavior of grieving elephants who had lost a child or a family member or a spouse. One particular passage that thunders in my ears is the man Thomas telling Alice (the mother) about his father's death. He says, "I think grief is like a really ugly couch. It never goes away. You can decorate around it; you can slap a doily on top of it; you can push it to the corner of the room-but eventually, you learn to live with it."

So you see, my love, that is what I am doing. I am learning to live with it. Another quote that I will end with is this: "If you think about someone you've loved and lost, you are already with them. The rest is just details.
I love you Richard. I am always with you.

Forever, Paula


Throughout her blockbuster career, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult has seamlessly blended nuanced characters, riveting plots, and rich prose, brilliantly creating stories that “not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us” (The Boston Globe). Now, in her highly anticipated new book, she has delivered her most affecting novel yet—and one unlike anything she’s written before.

For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.
I loved this book. Not only did I learn a lot about elephants but a lot about grieving and what it can do to those who are left behind and those that leave. You should read this book. It is beautiful!

Thursday, October 23, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

My dear Richard:

This was a tough week. I passed the 3 month anniversary mark. And I survived. You knew that I would didn't you? You've always known that I'd be alright. It's just me that has to come to that conclusion now, isn't it?

Do you remember so many years ago when we first became a couple? It's almost funny how it came to be. You dared to stop by my house one night on your drive home from work. You didn't yet know that I was getting a divorce. And I didn't know that you had left your wife. Not that it would have mattered to were my boss and so much older. I surely wasn't interested in you that way. But I was now a single mom with two little boys. You first asked if you could take them to McDonald's. Remember? They were so excited. Nothing like a Happy Meal to win over a little boy. The next time you stopped by it was with tickets to the circus. And what a nice evening I had at home alone while you bought peanuts, cotton candy, balloons and entertained two wide-eyed kids who looked up to you like the hero that you were. You dropped by with little souveneirs from your business trips. And they loved you! You stopped by with cookies that you were given at work and couldn't eat them all. And then that time that you dared to stop by and ask if the boys wanted to go to a basketball game and you said, "maybe momma would like to come with us this time." I can't believe how brave you were. You told me many times that you was sure I would say NO. But I didn't. I dared to take that chance and find out 'who was this man that had won the hearts' of my two little guys. You took care of us. You helped us. You won me over. I'm so glad that you dared to stop by and win my heart through the hearts of my sons. 

I'm so thankful we took the dare.

All my love,


#Throwback Thursday

Don't we all love Throwback Thursday? And it's almost Halloween so what better time to show this picture. This is my siblings and me in about 1959. Mom made all the costumes, as was the trend back then. I don't think I ever can remember a store bought costume. I am the Witch (still am, some would say) and that is a mop on my head. I can remember really wanting to be the princess but, alas, being the younger sister I never won those battles. Cool picture, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

Dear Richard:

I remember that day so many years ago when we found our home. We were out for a drive. This neighborhood was always one of your favorites. We had driven through it before. The houses are near, but not too close. The trees are huge and beautiful. Lots of cottonwood, elms, maples, and oaks. Close to town yet not right in the middle of things. Close to the country. But not isolated. We saw the house with a tiny 'for sale' sign. You thought it looked empty so you pulled into the driveway. "Couldn't hurt to take a look." you said. We walked around the outside and peeked into the windows. I dismissed it immediately because I only found one bathroom. No way could we move into a house with only one bathroom. And besides the duplex we are living in is perfect. We have everything we need.
Our house October 2008

Coming down the street towards our house...
(see our house down there at the end??)
Going around the curve
But you didn't give up. You called me the next day and said you had called the number on the 'for sale' sign and the house has "3 bathrooms" so we had an appointment to see it. We walked though, you fell in love with it and we bought it that week. Here is where we spent the last 26 years of our lives. You were so proud of our home. And you have left a big empty space. One that is filled with years of memories....Didn't hurt at all to just take a look.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

My dearest Richard:

Do you remember what today is? That's right, it is Justin's birthday. Your son, you would say. And even though he doesn't share your biology he is your son. Has been from the very beginning. Just a wee lad of three. He doesn't remember living with his dad at all. The biological dad, that is. You've always been DAD to him. I remember how I loved to see him grab hold of your index finger and walk along beside you. How proud you've always been of him. How you used to brag about his football years and then when he became a cop. How your buttons almost burst when you talked about his cop exploits. Someone that you used to work with at Eaton recently told me that it was years before they knew we had two was Justin they heard about all the time.

His cake at age 12
(I'm sure you bought this one)

You baked their birthday cakes for them. And when that stopped you went to Dairy Queen and bought them an ice cream cake. That is our tradition. We had an Oreo Ice Cream cake this past
Saturday..39 now!
Saturday for his birthday. And we all thought of you. He misses you as much as I do. And his grief is just as painful. You were very lucky to be so loved. And we were very lucky that you loved us.



Happy 39th Birthday are the best son a mother could ever ask for. 

You've Done Some of These...Haven't You?

I found this on Facebook recently. It brought back so many memories that I thought I would share this here and see if there are any of you who did the same things. Heck, I was letting my kids and MY grandkids pee in the yard for years. When we had a pool in the backyard there was no way they were going to go dripping in the house just to pee. So they'd climb the ladder, run to a hidden corner and pee. Big deal! I still play the quiet game when we are in the car. Teens love it too! I was so bad that I used to tell my boys that a monster lived in the hallway so that they wouldn't come out of their bedrooms during nap time. Didn't work so great when they got bigger. But kept those little ones nicely in their beds when they were toddlers. And, yes, 18 and 19 I have said more times than I care to count. And now they are saying it to their kids. How 'bout you? Did you do any of these things? Or other things you'd like to add to the list.....

Monday, October 20, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

 Dearest Richard:

Today is October 21. Three months since you died. I cannot believe it has been only three months. It seems like it was just yesterday. Yesterday when you last squeezed my fingers. Yesterday when I last saw that tiny smile and those twinkling eyes. Will it ever get any easier? I feel so empty. I miss you so much. There is a pain in my chest that won't go away. It is the pain of a broken heart. I wonder if that pain will end. I wonder if the crack in my heart will mend. Will I always feel this way?

Three months. At times it feels like 3 years. Or 30 years. Or even 300 years. I struggle to hear your voice. I strain to see your face. I know that you are right here near me and I hold you close. In my heart. I touch the things that you touched. And remember. I don't want to move on. I just want to stand here in this very spot where you last were. I need a second. Or a minute. Another hour with you would be so nice. I want to hear you laugh. See you smile. Hear you call my name. Know that you will always be right there. I just need to see you, hear you, feel you for a second.

You can see how confused I am about time. It only seems a second, yet it seems so long ago. 

Love forever, 


My Simple Woman's Daybook-October 20th Edition

FOR TODAY...October 20, 2014

Outside my window...It is clear. The stars look as if you could reach out your hand and pluck on right out of the sky. It is 61* and will probably we closer to 40* by morning. Typical fall in Kansas

I am thinking...I am thinking I will not have very many nice days left to do my touch up painting outside and sand and paint the back door. Wish me luck!

I am thankful...for all that I have. Despite all of my whining I am a very lucky woman

In the kitchen...
Monday...Clean out the Fridge Day
Tuesday...Pancakes and Bacon
Wednesday...Kids at church
Thursday...Baked Tacos*
Saturday...Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad
Sunday...Meat Loaf, mashed taters, broccoli
*linked recipe

I am wearing...White shorts, tee shirt, no shoes.

I am creating...Memories in my mind

I am going...To have more hope this week. And find some peace while I'm at it.

I am wondering...How some people always seem to be so positive and chipper. Is it hard?

I am reading...Just downloaded Jodi Picoult's Leaving Time. I like her books usually

I am find plenty of time to read this week. And still get outside some.

I am looking forward to...Saturday October 25..the greenhouse down the road is selling their mums for 1/2 price. I think I'll get some for the patio

I am learning...That living without my love is hard but not impossible.

Around the house...I need a kick in the pants to get in gear this week. But I have hope

I am pondering...What to do with a teenage girl that doesn't seem to get that talking back is just not cool.....any ideas out there?

A favorite quote for today...

One of my favorite things...Sunshine, beautiful sunshine

A few plans for the rest of the week:Getting outdoors

A peek into my day...
My fall vignette created last week!                             

If you want to read others journal entries go visit The Simple Woman's Blog and link up

Sunday, October 19, 2014


This is part of my 31 Day Five Minute Free Writes challenge within a challenge. I will be linking up with 31 Day Challenge at The Nester's as well as at Heading Home. For a list of all my letters you can go here.

Dear Richard:

I am not one to fear much in life. There are a couple of phobias that will be much harder now without you here.

My biggest fear is of mice. Have been so afraid of them since I was a small girl. You were my hero when it came to taking care of them for me. We have some funny 'mice'
stories at our house. But you never made me feel silly or irrational with this fear. You just took care of it. What will I do now if I see a mouse in the house? I shudder to think. I will do all that I can to keep them away. More steel wool, you think?

And then there is my fear of flying. That will be easy....I just won't fly. Remember the time we arrived at the airport to find that we did not have seats next to each other and I freaked out. You asked at the desk if they could change it. They told you just to ask the person sitting next to you if they would switch. I remember you saying to that
sweet little man..."would you mind switching with my wife? Or you can sit and let her hold your hand...she's afraid of flying." The man graciously gave up his seat. And you would whisper to me, as the plane took off, so I would know when to expect it and what all the noises meant. And landing was the worst. But you let me know what was going on while I squeezed your hand and buried my head. I won't be able to fly again. It will be too hard.

But the one thing I did not fear was losing you. Never. I guess I didn't think it would happen. Or I just didn't fear it. I miss you. But you are here in my heart.